For the past two years, Moorestown resident David Burris has participated in the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.
The themed journey takes place around the world and invites motorcycle riders to wear a suit while raising money for men’s mental health and prostate cancer research.
Riders were encouraged to go solo on Sept. 27, given the toll COVID-19 pandemic has taken on mental health, Burris wondered if there was a way he could still organize a small ride to generate big funds. So, on that Sunday, 10 riders met up for the Shiny Side Charity Ride, which has raised more than $8,000 thus far.
Burris lost his brother, Douglas, to suicide in 2007. He was a motorcycle enthusiast, and after his passing, Burris inherited Douglas’ bike. He’s been riding it ever since.
Around three years ago, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride came on his radar, and it checked all the boxes for Burris. Not only does the organization raise funds to support mental health, but he could take his brother’s motorcycle out as a special tribute.
Burris said in addition to all financial and physical effects of COVID, diminished mental health has also been one of the pieces of collateral damage. He said depression, suicide and mental health issues have skyrocketed in response to the pandemic’s isolation, financial stress, school stress and other difficulties.
In the two years Burris participated in the ride, he was met with an outpouring of support from friends, neighbors and local businesses who were willing to donate. So, when he learned that riders were being encouraged to ride solo, he thought, why not reach out to some of the riders he’s taken the trip with in the past and see if they might be up for a small trip starting in Moorestown.
Burris called it the Shiny Side Charity Ride after the motorcycle expression “shiny side up, rubber side down,” meaning to keep your bike upright. He said his brother frequently used the expression, and given the ride is raising money for mental health, Shiny Side felt like an appropriate title for it.
Riders assembled for breakfast at Pie Lady Cafe on Main Street before making their way to Bird and Betty’s, a restaurant in Beach Haven, for lunch. After that, they made their way back west to Double Nickel Brewing in Pennsauken.
Participants signed up for the ride through the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride website, and Burris used the organization’s platform to coordinate and raise funds. While the donation link is still live following the ride, at last count more than $8,000 has been raised.
Given the event’s success, Burris is considering making the Shiny Side Charity Ride an annual event. He’s grateful the ride opened up conversations about mental health.
“I’m looking forward to doing more with this,” he noted. “There’s been a lot of interest, and I’m excited to see what happens in the future.”
Those interested in donating to the fundraiser can do so through Sunday, Oct. 11 at http://bit.ly/RideToPreventSuicide.